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Charles Schumer
  U.S. Senate Sen. Schumer on Impeachment  CSPAN  January 15, 2020 9:50am-10:00am EST

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>> the house majority fueled by political animus may have started this with frivolity, but it will fall to us to do what the founders intended, to take the long view, move beyond partisan passions, and do what the long-term good of our institution and our nation demands. >> now, the house of representatives has impeached the president for a very serious offense. coercing a foreign leader into interfering in our election, using the powers of the presidency, the most powerful public office in the nation to benefit himself, to actually influence the election, which should be decided by american
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citizens not by a foreign power. when debating the impeachment clause of the constitution, the founders worried about foreign capital having undue influence over our country. hamilton writing in the federalist papers described impeachable offenses as abuses or violation of trust. in the question the senate will be asked to answer whether the president did in fact abuse his public trust and by doing so invite the very foreign influence the founders feared would be a corruption of our democracy. to answer that question, to decide whether the president merits a quibble or removal from office, the senate must conduct a fair trial. a fair trial has witnesses. a fair trial has relevant documents, a part of the record, a fair trial seeks the truth. no more, no less. that's why democrats have
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called, have asked to call four fact witnesses and subpoenaed three specific sets of relevant documents related to the president's misconduct with ukraine. at the moment, my republican colleagues are opposing these witnesses and documents, but they can't seem to find a real reason why. most are unwilling to argue that witnesses shouldn't come before the senate. they can only support delaying the decision until most of the trial is over. like a magic eight ball that keeps asking, ask again later. the most the republican leader can do is seeing our request as some partisan fishing expedition intended to damage the president, but the leader himself has warned the witnesses that we've requested might not help to manage his case against the president. these are the president's top
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advisors appointed by him, vetted by him, they work with him. we don't know what those witnesses will say or what the documents will reveal. they could hurt the president's case or they could help the president's case, we don't know, but we know one thing, we want the truth on something as weighty and profound as an impeachment trial. does leader mcconnell want the truth? do senate republicans want the truth? i remind the leader, a request for witnesses and documents is very much in line with the senate's history. leader-- the republican leader keeps citing precedence. here is precedence, mr. leader. there have been two presidential impeachment trials in history. both, both have witnesses. the trial of andrew johnson had 41 witnesses. there have been 16 completed impeachment trials in the senate's entire history. in every one, except one, the
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trial in 1799 of the senator william blunt which was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, every senate impeachment trial in history has included witnesses. you want precedent? precedent says witnesses overwhelmingly. the long arc of history cast a shadow on the proceedings we're about to undertake. it suggests something obvious, that the senate has always believed trials were about evidence and getting the truth. of the 16 impeachment trials, 15 have witnesses and one was dismissed early. the senate republicans want to break that lengthy historical precedent by conducting the first impeachment trial of a president in history with no witnesses? let me ask that question again. this is weighty. this is vital. this is about the republic.
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do senate republicans want to break the lengthy historical precedent that said witnesses should be at an impeachment trial by conducting the first impeachment trial of a president in history, in history since 1789 with no witnesses? i ask that question, mr. president because that seems to be where the republican leader wants us to be headed. the republican leader has designed a schedule for a senate trial that night, might have us vote on witnesses and documents after the presentations from both sides have been concluded. the judicial equivalent of putting the cart before the horse. of course leader mcconnell has made no guarantee that he will support voting on witnesses and documents at that time. only that supposedly he'll be open to the idea. i want my colleagues, my
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republican colleagues to bear in mind if we consider witnesses at a later date, you could extend the trial by several days, maybe several weeks, as witnesses did during the clinton trial. leader mcconnell has said that after the arguments are made we should vote and move on. do my republican colleagues believe that leader mcconnell will have an open mind to witnesses at a later date when they might extend the trial much longer than he wants? i'm not in the prediction business, but i can bet leader mcconnell will say enough, the trial shouldn't drag on any longer that the senate doesn't need witnesses and documents and do as he once said, vote and move on. before senate republicans are so quick to reject the democratic proposal for a limited list of relevant witnesses and documents, i want them to consider that our proposal would save the senate
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time. we want to confront the issue now, not be forced to extend the trial later. we want both the house managers and the white house defense counsel to have time to incorporate the testimony of witnesses into their presentation. that's the proper way to proceed. that's what happens at trials. to correct all the evidence at the beginning, not at the end. all we're asking is for the president's own men, his appointees to come forward to tell their side of the story. the american people want a fair trial in the senate. the american people know that a trial without witnesses and documents is not a real trial, it's a sham trial and the american people will be able to tell the difference between a fair hearing of the facts and the coverup. >> the house votes today on impeachment managers and will send the articles against president trump on abuse of power and obstruction of congress to the senate for a
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trial. one of the first actions by house managers will be walking the articles from the house to the senate. before the end of the week, supreme court chief justice john roberts is expected to be sworn in as the presiding officer for the trial and senators will take an oath as jurors. former senator barbara mikulski spoke about the oath she took during the the clinton impeachment trial. >> you sit as a jury of 100 to render impartial justice. the chief justice of the supreme court presided as the chief judge. >> at this time i will administer the oath to all senators in the chamber in conformance with article 1 section 3 clause 6 of the constitution and the senate impeachment rules. >> to be sure that no vote will be party, three votes.
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one as a group. >> so help you god. >> then as individual. >> ms. mikulski. >> i do. >> and then third, you go into the well and you sign a book for all of history where i hereby barbara mikulski, u.s. senator from maryland, do pledge in render impartial justice on the matter of impeachment. now, your happened shakes with that kind of historical and immediate commitment. >> the impeachment of president trump, today the house votes on impeachment manager, sending the article from abuse of power and obstruction of congress to the senate. live on c-span, and listen live on the c-span radio app. >> today we expect the u.s. senate to receive